Other books byBen Katchor
Hand-Drying in America
And Other Stories
WITH BEAUTIFUL FULL-COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS THROUGHOUT From one of the most original and imaginative American cartoonists at work today comes a collection of graphic narratives on the subjects of urban planning, product design, and architecture—a surrealist handbook for the rebuilding of society in the twenty-first century. Ben Katchor, a master at twisting mundane commodities into surreal objects of social significance, now takes on the many ways our property influences and reflects cultural values. Here are window-ledge pillows designed expressly for people-watching and a forest of artificial trees for sufferers of hay fever. The Brotherhood of Immaculate Consumption deals with the matter of products that outlive their owners; a school of dance is based upon the choreographic motion of paying with cash; high-visibility construction vests are marketed to lonely people as a method of getting noticed. With cutting wit Katchor reveals a world similar to our own—lives are defined by possessions, consumerism is a kind of spirituality—but also slightly, fabulously askew. Frequently and brilliantly bizarre, and always mesmerizing, Hand-Drying in America ensures that you will never look at a building, a bar of soap, or an ATM the same way.
Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: The Beauty Supply District
Join Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, on a leisurely stroll past The Institute for Soup-Nut Research and The Municipal Birthmark Registry. Savor the smell of a phone booth, circa 1961. Sign up for a guided tour of the oldest continually vacant storefront in America. Attend a championship grave-digging competition, or, should you feel you've wasted yet another day, you can check in for help at a local Misspent Youth Center. In "The Beauty Supply District," a new twenty-four-page story, Knipl attends an evening concert and unwittingly enters the world of wholesale empathizers and chiaroscuro brokers who make the decisions critical to the production of aesthetic pleasure in all its forms -- from the shape of an olive jar to the score of a string quartet. From the Hardcover edition.
The Cardboard Valise
Ben Katchor (“The creator of the last great American comic strip.”—Michael Chabon) gives us his first book in more than ten years: the story of the fantastical nation of Outer Canthus and the three people who, in some way or another, inhabit its shores. Emile Delilah is a young xenophile (lover of foreign nations) so addicted to traveling to the exotic regions of Outer Canthus that the government pays him a monthly stipend just so he can continue his visits. Living in the same tenement as Emile are Boreal Rince, the exiled king of Outer Canthus, and Elijah Salamis, a supranationalist determined to erase the cultural and geographic boundaries that separate the citizens of the Earth. Although they rarely meet, their lives intertwine through the elaborate fictions they construct and inhabit: a vast panorama of humane hamburger stands, exquisitely ethereal ethnic restaurants, ancient restroom ruins, and wild tracts of land that fit neatly next to high-rise hotels. The Cardboard Valise is a graphic novel as travelogue; a canvas of semi-surrealism; and a poetic, whimsical, beguiling work of Ben Katchor’s dazzling imagination.
100 EXTRAORDINARY STORIES ABOUT ORDINARY THINGS SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS: A Literary and Economic Experiment Can a great story transform a worthless trinket into a significant object? The Significant Objects project set out to answer that question once and for all, by recruiting a highly impressive crew of creative writers to invent stories about an unimpressive menagerie of items rescued from thrift stores and yard sales. That secondhand flotsam definitely becomes more valuable: sold on eBay, objects originally picked up for a buck or so sold for thousands of dollars in total — making the project a sensation in the literary blogosphere along the way. But something else happened, too: The stories created were astonishing, a cavalcade of surprising responses to the challenge of manufacturing significance. Who would have believed that random junk could inspire so much imagination? The founders of the Significant Objects project, that’s who. This book collects 100 of the finest tales from this unprecedented creative experiment; you’ll never look at a thrift-store curiosity the same way again. FEATURING ORIGINAL STORIES BY: Chris Adrian â¢ Rob Agredo â¢ Kurt Andersen â¢ Rachel Axler â¢ Rob Baedeker â¢ Nicholson Baker â¢ Rosecrans Baldwin â¢ Matthew Battles â¢ Charles Baxter â¢ Kate Bernheimer â¢ Susanna Breslin â¢ Kevin Brockmeier â¢ Matt Brown â¢ Blake Butler â¢ Meg Cabot â¢ Tim Carvell â¢ Patrick Cates â¢ Dan Chaon â¢ Susanna Daniel â¢ Adam Davies â¢ Kathryn Davis â¢ Matthew De Abaitua â¢ Stacey â¢ D'Erasmo â¢ Helen DeWitt â¢ Doug Dorst â¢ Mark Doty â¢ Ben Ehrenreich â¢ Mark Frauenfelder â¢ Amy Fusselman â¢ William Gibson â¢ Myla Goldberg â¢ Ben Greenman â¢ Jason Grote â¢ Jim Hanas â¢ Jennifer Michael Hecht â¢ Sheila Heti â¢ Christine Hill â¢ Dara Horn â¢ Shelley Jackson â¢ Heidi Julavits â¢ Ben Katchor â¢ Matt Klam â¢ Wayne Koestenbaum â¢ Josh Kramer â¢ Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer â¢ Neil LaBute â¢ Victor LaValle â¢ J. Robert Lennon â¢ Jonathan Lethem â¢ Todd Levin â¢ Laura Lippman â¢ Mimi Lipson â¢ Robert Lopez â¢ Joe Lyons â¢ Sarah Manguso â¢ Merrill Markoe â¢ Tom McCarthy â¢ Miranda Mellis â¢ Lydia Millet â¢ Maud Newton â¢ Annie Nocenti â¢ Stephen O’Connor â¢ Stewart O’Nan â¢ Jenny Offill â¢ Gary Panter â¢ Ed Park â¢ James Parker â¢ Benjamin Percy â¢ Mark Jude Poirier â¢ Padgett Powell â¢ Bob Powers â¢ Todd Pruzan â¢ Dan Reines â¢ Nathaniel Rich â¢ Peter Rock â¢ Lucinda Rosenfeld â¢ Greg Rowland â¢ Luc Sante â¢ R.K. Scher â¢ Toni Schlesinger â¢ Matthew Sharpe â¢ Jim Shepard â¢ David Shields â¢ Marisa Silver â¢ Curtis Sittenfeld â¢ Bruce Sterling â¢ Scarlett Thomas â¢ Jeff Turrentine â¢ Deb Olin Unferth â¢ Tom Vanderbilt â¢ Matthew J. Wells â¢ Joe Wenderoth â¢ Margaret Wertheim â¢ Colleen Werthmann â¢ Colson Whitehead â¢ Carl Wilson â¢ Cintra Wilson â¢ Sari Wilson â¢ Douglas Wolk â¢ John Wray